Drop in Guinea’s Expected Economic Growth Blamed on Deadly Bauxite Riots

Drop in Guinea’s Expected Economic Growth Blamed on Deadly Bauxite Riots

Riots this summer in Guinea’s Boké region sent ripples through the African nation’s economy, as the country’s budget minister blamed the unrest on the loss of nearly a full percentage point of forecast economic growth next year.

According to comments by Budget Minister Mohamed Lamine Doumbouya, the government lowered its growth forecast from 6.7 percent to 5.8 percent in the coming year. This is down from the government’s anticipation at breeching the 7-percent barrier in the coming year.

Though no official would go on record by name identifying a reason for the country’s economic problems, one official who Reuters described as high ranking spoke to the news agency and identified the recent rioting in Boké as a primary cause.

“Mining is the main sector that really supports current growth. If there are problems in this sector, there are repercussions on the whole economy,” explained the unnamed official who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Boké, which is the location of the headquarters of major bauxite firms Societe Miniere de Boke (SMB) and Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee (CBG) and the epicenter for the recent spate of violent unrest, also houses much of the country’s poor and unemployed. Many of the country’s disenfranchised lay the blame at their doorstep, watching those two firms each ship around fifteen million metric tons a year of the country’s mineral riches overseas. Between them, the two firms produce 30 million metric tons of bauxite ore each year, accounting for principally all of the country’s yearly bauxite ore production.

Recurring complaints include a lack of local employment at the mines and recurring electrical outages they believe are related to the significant bauxite harvesting operations. Though among the poorest countries on Earth, Guinea hosts around a third of the world’s known bauxite reserves.